You know that moment when you walk into a holiday party and as you’re exchanging obligatory greetings, you’re simultaneously shooting surreptitious glances around the room for the food table? Yeah, us too. You discreetly sidle up to the table, sizing up the victuals; yup, the hummus and veg is present and accounted for, devilled eggs? Check. And then, just beyond the breadbasket, you spy your target - the charcuterie board. Now, there are some gatherings that don’t quite get the importance of a great artisanal cured meat selection. There have been times when I’ve suppressed the urge to lunge across the table and attack it like a wild animal, and instead, gracefully sidle up to the meaty target, all the while maintaining a conversation with the IT guy only to find that the board consists of cheap pizza pepperoni and garlic sausage slices speared haphazardly with toothpicks. Nooooooooooooooo! Oh the humanity! Enter: The Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria.
It’s no secret that Victorians go the extra mile to seek out local sustainable food products. So when Cory Pelan opened The Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria in the summer of 2011, it was a calculated move in response to the growing desire for all things local. And it’s no surprise that Pelan has helmed this venture, given his passion for and involvement in local, sustainable food practices. As a former president and treasurer, now board member of the Island Chefs Collaborative, board member of the Slow Food Vancouver Island and stewardship team member representing Vancouver Island for Farm Folk City Folk, Pelan lives, breathes, eats and makes sustainable food a practice in the Capital Region.
But this little salumeria is far more than cured meat counter offering local charcuterie, run by a passionate foodie – it is an artisanal workshop where local heritage meat gets transformed into high quality, handcrafted, cured delicacies using traditional techniques with no additives, preservatives or fillers. So if you haven’t already checked out this little slice of spicy, savoury, meaty heaven you really need to. While you’re browsing, check out their selection of preserves – think kimchee, sauerkraut, mustards, pickles, vinegars and sauces, yum! They’ve also formed awesome relationships with restaurants all over the city, so while you’re tikiing on Tuesdays at North 48, or grabbing some grub at The Guild you’ll be getting incredible quality cured meat from right up the road.
So here’s the take away folks: when it comes time to host a holiday party or when you’re headed to a Christmas potluck, make sure that you aren’t the shmuck with the wheel of supermarket garlic sausage. Instead, be the babe with the kick-ass plate of artisanal charcuterie - just try not to eat it all before the party starts.